James Thorpe, Editor, International Security Journal reflects on a fascinating meeting with Andrew White, CEO, Chubb Fire & Security Group

In November 2022, I had the pleasure of visiting Havas Studios in Kings Cross, London to meet with Andrew White, CEO of Chubb Fire & Security Group. Though some time has passed since COVID-19 restrictions were fully lifted in the UK, the meeting served as another reminder of just how important face-to-face interaction is in the industry.

Entering the meeting room and introducing myself to Andrew, Christine Tama, Global Head of External and Digital Communications, Chubb Fire & Security Group as well as Daisy Padovan and Finlay Donaldson of H/Advisors, it was quickly made clear that our conversations were going to be productive and in-depth.

Andrew White

Born in Sunderland, Andrew started work in humble surroundings over a quarter of a century ago as an apprentice multi-skilled maintenance technician in the then high-tech automotive industry. ”My technology background eventually led me to the commercial world, but my focus has always been on improving businesses and unlocking value,” he explained. “My journey, spanning from engineering and technology to corporate strategy and leadership, has enabled me to drive business transformation strategically with the amplification of digital technology allowing a more macro perspective.”

Andrew told me that such experiences enabled him to land various key roles such as Major Projects and Services UK Sales Manager, Schneider Electric and Executive Director, ROTARY Engineering Services.

Prior to being named as Chief Executive Officer of Chubb Fire & Security Group in May 2022, he worked in Austin, Dubai and Singapore for Emerson Automation Solutions as Vice President & GM, Systems & Solutions, North America, Corporate Vice President & GM, Middle East & Africa and as Vice President Sales & Services, Asia Pacific.

Joining Chubb is yet another major step in Andrew’s exciting career and his industry outlook, predictions and clear understanding of digital and physical security trends shone through during our conversation.

“In this role, I am looking to develop a philosophy built on three key pillars: People, process and portfolio,” Andrew explained. “When it comes to people, we want to create an inclusive, engaging, innovative and collaborative work environment with a safety bias culture. We want to
be the number one employer in the fire and security industry as people and talent are the currency for every successful company.

“By focussing on simplicity and digital transformation, Chubb can effectively lead the market whilst also investing in itself in the process. The upside of going through a separation has been the development of a state-of-the-art next generation cloud-based infrastructure that enhances our platform for consolidation and growth.

“At the same time, we want to optimise our portfolio, selectively expanding the markets we serve, the solutions we offer, the services we deploy and the technology we leverage.”

Chubb Fire & Security Group

Chubb – one of the world’s leading providers of fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations nationwide – was founded over 200 years ago in the UK. Its humble lock and key beginnings have come a long way, with the company now offering myriad services with a mayor focus on remote interconnectivity, whilst protecting life and built infrastructure.

Chubb’s large global presence is reflected by its establishment networks in countries such as Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France and Ireland; the Chubb brand is part of APi Group Corporation, a business services provider of safety and specialty services.

“Chubb’s strong brand was a big draw for me. The business has more than 200 years’ experience protecting people and assets and a steeped history of generational workers. APi’s ambitious long term plans for the business and their people-first values really resonate with me,” Andrew commented.

“There is a huge synergy in the fact that I have worked in the regions where they operate and also where we want to enter. We have the opportunity to build on Chubb’s digital position and connected services. Technological advancements,
end market solutions whilst addressing statutory and regulatory requirements and this global shift to remote services are making fire and security a more complex issue for customers.

“A significant percentage of our service and recurring revenues stem from complex regulatory and statutory requirements, which is not the norm for the industry. This gives us unique resilience against macro­economic headwinds.”

Projects and preparations

As the company continues to prepare for the ‘digital switchover’, its markets across the world have already, or are in the process of, completing the necessary adaptations. For example, its UK Skyline project aims to ensure that buildings of the future are made to be sustainable, flexible and optimised to meet changing user demands and working patterns. Having worked on major projects in the UK such as Battersea Power Station, Chubb’s integrated approach brings various internal and external stakeholders together to collaborate effectively with one goal in mind: The safety and security of people. Andrew explained this in more detail: “Skyline is our team of fire and security solutions experts that provide integrated systems that are specifically designed to optimise commercial and multi-use buildings. “We have key, existing integration partners and strong cooperation with the UK’s Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNIJ which guarantee effective security and safety measures are implemented during Projects such as Battersea.”

For the Battersea Power Station project, Andrew told me that Chubb had provided detailed design for all elements and the fire detection and PAVA systems on a structured phased basis. The fire detection and PAVA evacuation solution incorporates a ‘high-speed fire-rated network with 30 fire alarm panels, 3000 smoke and heat detectors, 1200 interfaces to other building services, 400 break glass units, 50 PAVA rack positions and a total PAVA loudspeaker solution. ‘The system is fully integrated and connects to building services such as dampers and fans for smoke control, sprinkler systems, door access and the building management system.’

Protecting life

Andrew was keen to stress Chubb’s vital role in protecting people across the globe and, in Australia, Chubb is the sole security partner for the Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCHJ). QCH is the major specialist children’s hospital for families living in Queensland and Northern New South Wales and provides care for the State’s sickest and most critically injured children who need highly specialised care; such specialised work requires both technical expertise and an experienced local team, Andrew explained.

“We are very proud of the work we do with QCH. Carrying out a technically demanding project in a large, mission-critical environment like a hospital takes a great deal of collaboration with clinical and operational stakeholders. Hospitals are a challenging environment for a security integrator and there is no room for mistakes. To meet the challenges of this project, it was imperative that Chubb formed a strong team including expert strategic partners.” Chubb met these challenges with a solution covering access control and video management through to communications and asset tracking.